Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ralph Reed: The Palinator



Ralph Reed, in a piece at the National Review, had some interesting things to say about Governor Palin's big weekend:

Sarah Palin dominated the news this weekend with a flurry of appearances, from her keynote speech to the Tea Party national convention in Nashville, campaigning for Gov. Rick Perry in Texas, and an appearance on Fox News Sunday, her first Sunday morning interview. With Obama's job approval in the mid-to-upper 40s and Democrats nervous about the mid-terms, the political cognoscenti want to know: Will Palin run in 2012?

My sense is that Palin has not made a decision about running for president, but as she told Chris Wallace on Fox she has not foreclosed that option. In the meantime, she is raising funds for GOP candidates (many of them in primaries), giving speeches, maintaining ongoing exposure as a Fox News contributor, and making contributions through her political action committee. All these activities will redound to the benefit of conservatives in the short term, regardless of her long-term plans.

Palin has sharpened both her message and performance on the stump. Her Tea Party remarks provide a blueprint of sorts for conservative candidates in 2010. First, she led with Obama's lack of leadership in the war on terrorism, including Mirandizing the Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab after 50 minutes and treating terrorism as primarily a law-enforcement matter. "To win that war we need a commander-in-chief, not a professor of law standing at a lectern," she said to a loud ovation. This is reminiscent of Scott Brown's line during his victory speech after winning the U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts: We want our taxes spent buying weapons to fight terrorists, not paying for lawyers to defend them. Obama claims that he is handling high-value detainees identically as his predecessor did. If that is the case, why does he continue to claim that the Bush administration undermined the war on terror by violating our own values? He can't have it both ways, and this is a huge liability for Obama and the Democrats.

Second, during the Q and A following her speech, when asked what were the first things Republicans should do if they regain Congress, Palin emphasized fiscal responsibility and time-honored values. "We've got to rein in the spending, obviously, and not raise it [with] extremely high budgets and then say, OK, we are going to freeze a couple of programs," she said. Then, talking about America's religious heritage, she said America needs to "go back to some of our roots as a God-fearing nation" and elect leaders unafraid "to proclaim their reliance on our Creator."

Democratic consultant Bob Shrum, appearing on MSNBC, denounced all this as essentially hate speech. He attacked Palin for being "a merchant of hate with an oh-gosh smile." (Translation: It's working!)

Read the rest of Reed's article here.

(H/T Whitney)

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